A brief look at Iran's new presidential cabinet
Following the two widespread uprisings of 2017 and 2019, Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, announced that he would prefer a young Hezb'allah government in power to overcome economic and social crises.
In this speech, he emphasized the characteristics of Qassem Soleimani as a model for the young Hezb'allah government of his preference.
With the rubout of Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces, Khamenei chose Ibrahim Ra'isi. According to Amnesty International, he was a member of the Death Committee in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners because of his loyalty to the regime's barbaric values. To pave the way for Raisi's presidency, Khamenei used his Guardian Council Apparatus to disqualify the presidential candidates deemed to offer any rivalry to Raisi. Even Ali Larijani, the former speaker of Iran's parliament and an advisor to Khamenei, was disqualified.
On August 11, Raisi presented the names of his Cabinet to parliament. A look at the composition and characteristics of the members of the new Cabinet reveals Khamenei's goals in the current situation.
Raisi's Cabinet composition
Women and religious minorities have no place in his all-male Cabinet. His Cabinet consists of individuals with heavy military, security, intelligence, and heartless individuals, never seen in any of the previous governments in Iran. There are eight ministers from the Revolutionary Guards and two ministers from the army in Raisi's Cabinet. Raisi, more than less, has mainly the ministers who served in Ahmadinejad's Cabinet. Raisi's Cabinet is frequently referred to as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's third Cabinet. Ahmadinejad served two terms as president.
Raisi is currently on the U.S. and international sanctions list for human rights violations. Furthermore, in the words of Amnesty International secretary-general, Raisi should be tried for his involvement in crimes in Iran instead of sitting on the president's chair. Khamenei was well aware of all internal and international risks and challenges regarding the appointment of Raisi as Iran's next president. However, to continue the life of its regime, he needed the most oppressive and brutal individual who could crack down on possible widespread uprisings with ruthless determination and cruelty. This individual happened to be Raisi. Khamenei banned the import of vaccines from France, Britain, and the United States, letting coronavirus spread freely through the cities and towns in Iran. The regime leadership hoped it would bring the people to the brink of collapse, so no one could even think of participating in anti-regime gatherings, demonstrations, and strikes. Based upon the goal of quashing any opposition to the regime, Raisi outlined a foreign policy reflecting the importance of protecting the regime first.
"In foreign policy, we will continue the foreign policy of Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force," said Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ra'isi, while reviewing his plans in the regime parliament's security commission. Qassem Soleimani's policy, known as the "victory in terror," means that goals can be achieved through terrorism and interference in other countries and the strengthening of missiles and nuclear weapons. In foreign policy, Abdullahian has always pursued the same policy in the region at the foreign ministry. Therefore, from now on, the world should expect a higher level of regional meddling by Iran, disruption of oil flow in the Persian Gulf, terrorist activities, and the arrest of dual citizens.
Proposing Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi as Minister of Interior is vital to the regime. Ahmad Vahidi has been the IRGC's Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence, Commander of Terrorist Operations and Hostage-taking since 1981, and has been organizing militias in the IRGC. Emad Mughniyeh, the terrorist commander of Hezb'allah in Lebanon who blew up the U.S. Marine Corps base in Beirut in 1983, was under Wahidi's command. The hostage-taking in Lebanon and the bombings in Paris in the 1980s were under Vahidi's command, too.
On July 18, 1994, a powerful bomb blast in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, killed 86 people and wounded dozens. Vahidi is one of the main defendants in this case and is being prosecuted by the Argentine prosecutor. Thus, Vahidi's appointment is basically to counter the uprisings that began in November 2017 and culminated in December 2019 and the recent social unrest in Baluchestan and Khuzestan.
Ahmad Vahidi, who handed over the commander of the Quds Force to Qassem Soleimani in 2017, served as deputy defense minister and then minister of defense in Ahmadinejad's two terms and has had other high ranking positions in the regime.
Raisi's Economic policy
Mohammad Mokhber, the "Chief of Staff for the Execution of the Imam's Order," has been appointed as Raisi's first deputy chief. Information obtained inside Iran indicates that all ministers and deputy prime ministers in various fields of Iran's economy under his supervision have to engage in a "resistance economy." Among them is Javad Oji, the minister of oil from the Foundation for the Oppressed, which has been the source of assassinations abroad since the beginning of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's rule. Hojjat Abdul Maliki, the current deputy minister of Labor, Welfare, and Social Security in the Relief Committee, has funded the families of Hezb'allah victims in Lebanon, Yemeni Houthis, Iraqi militants, and the Afghans killed in Syria. Reza Fatemi Amin Ministry of Samat (Industry, Mining, and Trade) from Astan Quds Razavi, one of the largest financial institutions under the supervision of the Supreme Leader. According to a comprehensive Reuters study in 1991, the billion-dollar wealth of this institution belongs to the Supreme Leader. In addition to financing the Iranian regime's overseas activities, all of these financial institutions and foundations will serve the regime's foreign policy.
Therefore, the Iranian regime will create unrest in the region for fear of another uprising, which will undoubtedly be the last, to score points and to be able to control the explosive situation inside Iran. Creating a hypothetical enemy like Israel and the United States wants to downgrade the main problem: the people's dissatisfaction and discontent with the government. The regime has done the same in the past 42 years, and it has reached its end.
In the past thirty years, the so-called reformists in Iran were hard at work to polish the façade of this regime and justify all social and economic shortfalls on the one hand and hide its crimes internationally on the other hand. One may ask what happened that Khamenei had to sideline these so-called moderates and advocate for a non-reformist kind of government. Below are a few factors worth considering:
1. Economic and social conditions
Socio-economically, the regime is in a state of chaos. The rapid fall of the national currency and the rampant rise in inflation, the closure of manufacturing enterprises, and the staggering flight of capital have caused more than 60 million Iranians to fall below the poverty line. Unbridled corruption has been institutionalized. The circle of the IRGC and institutions affiliated with the Supreme Leader have destroyed the economy. The middle class has been destroyed. Mohammad Qalibaf, the current speaker of parliament, said that society had been vastly polarized. Only about 4% of the population can afford to live comfortably, and the rest are poor. The army of the unemployed and the hungry is increasing every day.
2. Uprisings and uprisings
Despite the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA), a host of incentives offered to Iran, the sale of oil up to 2.5 million barrels per day, and the release of $ 150 billion of blocked Iranian money, the Iranian people staged widespread demonstrations initiated by poverty and inflation. Once again, in mid-November 2019, another widespread wave of uprisings swept the country. This time it was initiated from a sharp increase in gasoline prices. Khamenei's guards opened fire at the demonstrators, killing more than 1500 protestors and injuring many. These uprisings took the regime by surprise. The demonstrations and the bloody reaction of the regime showcased the dissatisfaction and the discontent from the regime. Many analysts believe that since then, the Iranian regime has entered a crisis of incurable legitimacy. In recent months, we have witnessed various uprisings in Iran, including Khuzestan and Baluchistan. Many believe that the situation in Iran is very volatile and resemble it as fire under ashes. The army of the hungry and the unemployed has moved
3. Resistance units
After the 2019 uprisings in Iran, hundreds of resistance units were organized and spread themselves throughout Iran. Resistance units support the ten-point plan of Iranian opposition leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, who calls for the separation of religion and state and the equality of men and women. These resistance units are practically leading the recent wave of uprisings. Due to the severe lack of vaccines and the regime's intentional spread of the virus, the resistance units are trying to break through the atmosphere of despair and frustration Khamenei is trying to impose on society. The coronavirus is reported to kill close to 2,000 people every day in Iran. Khamenei is hoping the fear from the virus will occupy people's minds and his regime's shortfalls will be less noticed. The presence of the resistance units brought hope to the people and fear for the regime and Khamenei.
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